O’Connell’s return boosts Munster’s hopes

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Paul O’Connell in action at the weekend.[/caption]

By Kieran Rooney

MUNSTER have been given a tremendous boost with the successful return of Paul O’Connell after injury in the 22-0 Rabo Direct Pro12 victory over Connacht at Musgrave Park.

Not only did O’Connell come through the game without any problems but he also scored one of Munster’s three tries. It was a display which suggests that he can play an important role in Munster’s upcoming Heineken Cup quarter-final against Harlequins.

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“It was great to come through the 80 minutes.” he stressed. “I could have done better at some of the breakdown work but overall it was very satisfying.”

Hooker Damien Varley crossed for Munster’s other two tries while Ronan O’Gara contributed two conversions and a penalty. Despite the victory, Munster remain in sixth spot in the table.

Leinster have moved to top spot following an exciting 22-17 home success over another of the leading contenders Glasgow. It was very much the Ian Madigan show.

Madigan’s performance in scoring all of Leinster’s points with a try, conversion and five penalties strengthened the argument that he and not Paddy Jackson should have been starting at out-half for Ireland.

His match-winning try nine minutes from time was an outstanding individual effort. Unfortunately, Jackson did not have such a good day, missing a number of vital goalkicks as Ulster went down 14-8 to Edinburgh.

It was a defeat which has pushed them to third in the table, a point behind leaders Leinster and trailing second placed Glasgow on points difference.